As the world finally emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2023, the Great Restructure commences.
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According to global trend forecaster WGSN, it’s in 2025 when the world can expect to see the seismic shifts across industries and communities following this period of adjustment. WGSN’s flagship forecast, Future Consumer, identifies four consumer types who are anticipated to drive growth in two years’ time.
Here, Helen Sac, consultant director for APAC at WGSN, details some key movements influencing new consumer sentiments from the report.
Fresh from the traumas of the pandemic, the ‘New Nihilists,’ according to WGSN, are experiencing disillusionment. This cohort is predicted to be drawn to modern co-ops that reflect their local neighbourhoods and communities.
Fashion companies, for example, could look to worker-owned garment manufacturers to earn points with this audience.
“Hyperlocalism will be the way to go as brands derive new strategies and products that are specifically tailored to the communities and consumers in the various regions. In addition, community economies are set to grow and brands need to understand the communities that they operate in in order to keep themselves relevant to these consumers. Retailers will look to pivot to strengthening online offers and/or forging
strategic partnership with local businesses,” Sac says.
The desire for sensory experiences will bring shoppers back to physical stores across APAC, and retailers will need to offer unique experiences to counter digital fatigue.
Mobile, however, will remain an invaluable channel for reaching consumers quickly.
There is a growing desire among APAC consumers to make the most of the present, and this cohort is finding respite in luxury shopping and experiences by purchasing feel- good items during the pandemic.
“Close to half of South Korean consumers surveyed think enjoying life is a priority, while Singaporean consumers place importance on their appearance and frequently make impulse purchases to keep up to date with the latest trends. Shoppers across APAC also view shopping as a leisure activity much more than their global counterparts in the US and across Europe,” Sac observes.
“Having gone through multiple movement restrictions, there’s been a mindset shift, and shoppers are seeking physical retail experiences for their wants rather than necessities,” adds Dato’ Joyce Yap, chief executive officer of Malaysia’s largest luxury mall operator, Pavilion.
‘Degrowth’ for good
Coupled with the rise of trends such as ‘stealth wealth’ or ‘quiet luxury,’ it is becoming more apparent that consumers are oversaturated with choice. Sac says retailers need to offer something better, not just more.
WGSN has coined the term ‘The Reductionists’ to describe an emerging type of consumers eager to ‘re-humanise’ their lives.
“[They] are looking for solutions that improve the world, whether that’s universal designs that can be used by people of all ages and abilities, or more personalised products and services that will be loved for longer and wasted less. The concept of degrowth for good, in which consumers focus on the essentials with a less-is-better mindset, has gained momentum in recent years,” Sac explains.
Brands such as Ralph Lauren have made fewer products over the last five years despite still making a profit, proving that degrowth can also be good business.
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“Brands, retailers and marketers need to stay ahead of the curve by tapping into alternative solutions to grow their business without negatively impacting society, people and the environment,” Sac says.